PRESIDENT IKEDA'S WORDS ON JOBS, CAREERS, AND PERSONAL FINANCE

Compiled by Bob Hasegawa: bob@AmericanGongyo.org

(Emphasis and headings added)

Beauty, benefit and good

Mr. Makiguchi taught that there are three kinds of value: beauty, benefit and good. In the working world the value of beauty means to find a job you like; the value of benefit is to get a job that earns you a salary that can support your daily life; the value of good means to find a job that helps others and contributes to society. (Faith Into Action, page 45)

No more moaning

President Toda said that the most important thing is to first become indispensable wherever you are. Instead of moaning that a job differs from what you'd like to be doing, he said, become a first-class individual at the job. This will open the path leading to your next phase in life, during which you should also continue doing your best. Such continuous efforts are guaranteed to land you a job that you like, that supports your life, and that allows you to contribute to society. (Faith Into Action, page 45.)

The Fundamental Cause of Unhappiness

Problems as we have seen, are not in themselves the fundamental cause of unhappiness. Lack of power and wisdom to solve them is the real cause. Fortunately we all innately possess infinite power and wisdom; and Buddhism shows us how to develop these qualities.

When in the depths of despair or grappling with a difficult problem, it may be hard to believe that our lives possess unlimited potential. But this is the essence of one of the profoundest Buddhist teachings, known as three thousand realms in a single moment of life, which we will explore in this chapter. (Unlocking the Mysteries of Birth and Death, page 105.)

Success Means Not Giving Up

I hope each of you will realize success in your respective fields, fully recognizing that success means not giving up halfway but resolutely pursuing the path you have chosen. To this end, it is also important that you realize that the place where you work is a place for forging your character and growing as a human being. By extension, therefore, it is a place for your Buddhist practice, a place for practicing your faith. When you view things from this angle, all your complaints will disappear. No one is more pathetic than someone who is constantly complaining. (For Today and Tomorrow, Daily Encouragement, at page 283.)

Should you quit?

Once you have decided on a job, I hope you will not be the kind of people who quit at the drop of a hat and are always insecure and complaining. Nevertheless, if after you've given it your all you decide to move on, that's perfectly all right too. My concern is that you don't forget that you are responsible for your environment when you make your decision. (Faith Into Action, page 46.)

Excel at something

There is a saying that urges us, "Excel at something!" It is important to become trusted by others wherever you are and to shine with excellence. Sometimes people may dislike their job at first but grow to love it once they become serious about doing their best. "What one likes, one will do well," goes another saying. Growing to like your job will also enable you to develop your talent. (Faith Into Action, page 46.)

Wisdom vs. Ego

When working for a company--which is like a society or community all its own--it is important to create harmonious relations with your colleagues and superiors, using wisdom and discretion along the way. If you incur your co-workers' dislike by being selfish or egotistic, you will be a loser in work and society. Wisdom is vital to being successful at one's work. The Daishonin writes, "The wise may be called human, but the thoughtless are no more than animals." (Faith Into Action, page 46.)

A Buddhist must not be defeated

Buddhism is an earnest struggle to win. This is what the Daishonin teaches. A Buddhist must not be defeated. I hope you will maintain an alert and winning spirit in your work and daily life, taking courageous action and showing triumphant actual proof time and time again. (Faith Into Action, page 3.)

What is actual proof?

When we speak of showing actual proof, it doesn't mean we have to try to put on a show of being any more knowledgeable or accomplished than we are. It is my hope that, in the manner that best suits your situation, you will prove the validity of this Buddhism by steadily improving in your daily life, your family, place of work and community and by polishing your character. (Faith Into Action, page 4.)

Past failure, past small success

It's foolish to be obsessed with past failures. It's just as foolish to be self-satisfied with one's small achievements. Buddhism teaches that the present and the future are what are important, not the past. Buddhism teaches us a spirit of unceasing challenge to win over the present and advance toward the future. Those who neglect this spirit of continual striving steer their lives in a ruinous direction. (Faith Into Action, page 17.)

Chant to become people of strong will

Life is a struggle with ourselves. It is a tug-of-war between progress and regression, between happiness and unhappiness. Those short on willpower or self-motivation should chant Daimoku with conviction to become people of strong will who can tackle any problems with seriousness and determination. (Faith Into Action, page 109.)

President Toda prohibits borrowing or lending money among members

Some members felt that it was the individual's right to loan money if he or she saw fit, but to this President Toda said: "I have prohibited the borrowing and lending of money among members, because in the end it will harm the member's faith and destroy the Soka Gakkai, an organization that stands for truth and justice. A leader who has borrowed from members will no longer be able to offer them proper guidance, nor will they be objective. Leadership appointments can also be influenced.

"On the other hand, if a member makes a loan to a leader or fellow member and that person doesn't repay it, the member will begin to doubt his or her faith or the Soka Gakkai, will become resentful, and eventually discard faith altogether. Whenever this has happened in the past, the outcome has been the same. I have prohibited these transactions in order to protect the members. If in spite of this you still want to lend money to another member, go right ahead, but don't expect the Soka Gakkai to have anything to do with it. If you don't get your money back, don't complain. If you simply must lend money, do it as if you were giving it away." (The New Human Revolution Volume 8, pages 236-37.)

Faith and deadlocks at work and in life

Over the long course of your life, you may at times find yourself in a deadlock at work, at school or in your daily affairs. However, these are phenomena of daily life and society which lie on a different plane than faith and are not themselves the essence of faith. Therefore, you must never allow yourself to be swayed by such superficial matters and risk losing your faith entirely. (Daily Guidance, Volume Three, page 183.)

Worldly fame and wealth

Worldly fame and wealth which is not based on Myoho may appear to be sources of happiness for the moment. However, such happiness is merely superficial and cannot last. Through your faith, however, you can change transient, superficial happiness into actual happiness, and temporary enjoyment into everlasting prosperity. Everything boils down to the strength of your faith and the power of your conviction. (Daily Guidance, Volume Three, page 39.)

What is faith?

Everything is contained in a single word faith. It encompasses truth, courage, wisdom and good fortune. It includes compassion and humanity as well as peace, culture, and happiness.

Faith is eternal hope; it is the secret to limitless self-development. Faith is the most basic principle of growth. (Discussions On Youth, Volume 2, pages 163-164.)

Faith and Work

Faith and daily life, faith and workthese are not separate things. They are one and the same. To think of them as separatefaith is faith, and work is workis theoretical faith. Based on the recognition that work and faith are the same, we should put one hundred percent of our energy into our jobs and one hundred percent into faith, too. When we resolve to do this, we enter the path of victory in life. Faith means to show irrefutable proof of victory amid the realities of society and in our own daily lives. (For Today and Tomorrow, Daily Encouragement, page175.)

Strength is Happiness.

Strength is itself victory. In weakness and cowardice there is not happiness. When you wage a struggle, you might win or you might lose. But regardless of the short-term outcome, the very fact of your continuing to struggle is proof of your victory as a human being. A strong spirit, strong faith and strong prayerdeveloping these is victory and the world of Buddhahood. (For Today and Tomorrow, Daily Encouragement, page 50.)